Avoid Reacting To Outside Conditions
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” – Vicki Corona
Before the visitor embarked upon discipleship he wanted assurance from the Master. “Can you teach me the goal of human life?” “I cannot.” “Or at least its meaning?” “I cannot.” “Can you tell me about death and of life beyond the grave?” “I cannot.” The visitor walked away in scorn. The disciples were dismayed that their Master had been shown in a poor light. Said the Master soothingly, “Of what use is it to comprehend life’s nature and life’s meaning if you have never tasted it?” “I’d rather you ate your pudding than speculated on it.” Life can pass by and we neglect to appreciate the pockets of time interwoven into meaningful moments. Anthony de Mello’s opening fable calls us to experience reality, rather than comprehend it at the level of the mind. Life’s captivating mysteries can flash by in an instant if we dwell on the past too long, or expect the future to arrive as we hope for. To create meaningful moments is to stay present and grounded while letting go of mental distractions. For that is the capricious monkey mind seeking to assert its will because it strives to be heard. Meaningful moments exist in everyday life, yet when reality does not conform to our mental image, suffering ensues.
“This is one way we can practice cultivating, on a daily basis, the radiant moment-to-moment awareness of interbeing, of meaningful connection and profound belonging of undefended openness and warm-hearted oneness with one and all,” states Lama Surya Das in The Big Questions: How to Find Your Own Answers to Life’s Essential Mysteries. The answer lies in letting go of diversions and disempowering thoughts which disallow us from connecting to the present. To be mindful of our thoughts, instead of stuck in a subconscious state, is a good reason to avoid reacting to life’s events. Mindfulness engages us to be present and inhabit our body with intention and receptivity. We let go of expecting life to unfold in a particular way and accept what shows up to embrace it with curiosity. If we are irritated by life’s events and react to it, we reinforce our suffering. Consider this, do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?
Learn To Follow Your Inner Compass
“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” – Kahlil Gibran
In the film Anna and The King, Prince Chulalongkorn played by actor Keith Chin declares to Anna Leonowens, played by Jodie Foster, “It is always surprising how small a part of life is taken up by meaningful moments. Most often they’re over before they start even though they cast a light on the future and make the person who originated them unforgettable.” To recognise meaningful moments, stop rushing to the next event and consider what is taking place before you. Our thoughts will convince us there’s something wrong with the present moment and we need to fix it to feel better. There are no problems in this moment, except our perception of it. It was Victor Frankl, the Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor who said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”
To create meaningful moments, we must connect with others on a deeper level. In today’s technologically advanced society, a growing number of people hide behind screens to reach out to others. Whilst it has allowed us to stay connected, many of these connections are insincere relationships devoid of human contact. Do you want to go through life collecting human thumbnails to display on your computer screen “wall,” or form deeper meaningful connections? Relationships create an opportunity for meaningful moments because they enrich our life. Regretfully, many people perceive them with disillusionment, because they orientate their attention on the negative aspects. There is balance in every relationship, which means there’s equal harmony and disharmony. To focus on disharmony alone distorts our view of the intricate connection between people. Life can be notorious for pulling us in different directions, we become distracted and lose our way. Yet, if we stay focused on what’s essential, we place esteemed value on those areas. Author Dennis Merritt Jones reminds us to live an authentic life from which meaningful moments arise, “Living an authentic life is probably the most challenging thing a human being can endeavour to undertake because it is not the way of the world, but it is the way of the heart that connects you to what is real, what is meaningful, and what is eternal.” The courage to live life on our terms can be profoundly meaningful when we follow our inner compass, instead of abiding by other people’s terms.
It must be said, we alone ascribe meaning to the events of our life. Some attach deeper meaning while others see no causal relationship to that which transpires. I’ve often felt profound meaningful moments immersed in nature. In that instance I feel a deep connection to life. I get out of my head and allow life to flow through me. Meaningful moments are interspersed throughout life, not in the acquisition of material possessions. So, make it a priority to lean towards events which enrich your life, such as travelling to new places. Embark on these journeys with loved ones to reinforce your connection to life and those around you. Likewise, being of service to others fosters meaningful moments. In donating our time and self, we enhance our life through altruistic deeds. Similarly, we need to adopt the right mindset to become attuned to such moments, instead of dismissing them as unimportant. Or else, we fail to miss out on wonderful experiences obscured as otherwise ordinary moments. As the Master reminds us, rather than speculate on reality we must embody it. Meaningful moments are a fabric of everyday life, masquerading as familiar events. Don’t let them pass you by.